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Steve Kerr takes leave of absence from Warriors due to back issues

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings

David Dow

While the rest of the Warriors were celebrating their NBA title this summer (and playing a little golf), Steve Kerr did something decidedly less fun — he had had back surgeries. Plural. Two of them to deal with issues that were likely exacerbated by a career where throughout his youth he had to up and down a hardwood court all the time.

Those surgeries left him in enough pain and limited in action that Kerr is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Warriors to deal with it, the team announced Thursday.

Luke Walton takes over as the Warriors’ interim coach (so the Warriors go from the guy who looks like an old skateboarder to the guy who looks like an old surfer). Alvin Gentry had been the guy in the seat to the left of Kerr last season, but he took the head coaching job in New Orleans this season.

There is no timetable the Warriors would give on Kerr’s return.

“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general,” Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said in a statement. “We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long-term, but as of today we don’t know the exact timeframe. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”

“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” said Kerr in his statement. “As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”

The Warriors have their system in place and everybody back from last season’s title team, so this should not be a huge setback. They still have Stephen Curry, and he can still knock down threes.

But Kerr was the master of pushing the right buttons with this team last season and if Walton can’t do that you have to wonder if it costs them a couple wins in a very tight West.